Do men and women shop differently? “Of course,” answers anyone who’s ever witnessed a married couple on a trip to the mall. Typically, when it comes to brick-and-mortar retail stores, men like to get in, get what they need and get out fast. They’re not major comparison shoppers and they’re more willing to pay a little more to speed the process than they are to spend time hunting down bargains.
But does the same difference between the sexes hold true when it comes to eCommerce—and if so, how can you tailor your marketing to attract both men and women? A recent Shopzilla survey polled men and women ecommerce shoppers about their latest online purchase. Here’s some of what it found.
Men and Women’s Online Shopping Behavior
Overall, men and women’s eCommerce shopping behavior was almost exactly alike. The vast majority of purchases (87 percent for men and 82 percent for women) were made on a desktop. Next most popular was an iPad, used by 13 percent of women and 10 percent of men. All other devices were far behind.
The bulk of eCommerce orders were placed from home (84 percent for women and 81 percent for men), which kind of gives the lie to the idea that employees are spending much of their time shopping online. Just 15 percent of men and 13 percent of women had made their most recent purchases while at work.
While “showrooming,” researching products in stores and then buying them cheaper online, has gotten a lot of play in the media, 79 percent of women and 76 percent of men bought products online without ever looking at them in a store. Showrooming behavior was slightly more common among men—12 percent of men say they looked at something in-store and then bought it online from a different store, but only 9 percent of women had.
Price matters to both men and women—77 percent of women and 74 percent of men say price influenced their purchases, while 80 percent of men and 79 percent of women say they bought from the store that “offered the best all-around price” for the product in question. Both sexes also care about free shipping, with close to 60 percent saying they chose a store that offered it.
However, women are more likely to actively hunt for bargains and deals. Just 57 percent of men, compared to 71 percent of women, say the item they purchased was on sale. Women are also more likely to use coupons, with 34 percent of women using them vs. 26 percent of men.
Male vs Female: Where the Sexes Differ Online
While marketing methods such as print advertising, social media, word-of-mouth and blogs worked equally well (or poorly) on men and women, there are a couple areas where the sexes differ:
- Women are more likely to pay attention to marketing emails. Fourteen percent of women, compared to 8 percent of men, say they first saw their most recent online purchase in an email from a store.
- Men are more likely to find a product when “surfing around” online. Thirty three percent of men, versus 26 percent of women, first saw their most recent purchase this way.
What do these stats mean to you?
If You’re Targeting Men:
- Consider paid search advertising: So your product pops up when men are searching or reading about related or competing products. Improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so your products and website are more likely to show up when they’re actively searching.
- If you own a brick-and-mortar store: Combat male showrooming by ensuring your employees are well-prepared and well-versed in what you sell. Offer the option to order the product in-store from your own website for (semi) instant gratification.
If You’re Targeting Women:
- Emails get results: With most women shopping online from home, don’t worry about sending emails during the busy part of the work day. Try emailing in the afternoon (around 3PM) to ignite her interest as her workday energy flags) and again after dinnertime when she’s likely to be settling down and relaxing.
- Offer coupons: Whether you post discount codes and coupons on online coupon sites, on your social media accounts, on your website or in emails, use them. Women love to feel the thrill of the hunt when shopping, and tracking down that great coupon offer is part of it.
Men Mars Women Venus Photo via Shutterstock
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It’s interesting to see how men and women differ in their shopping habits. Also, you should note the type of item bought. While women are mostly bargain hunters, they can easily be enticed to buy things that they don’t necessarily need but may seem cute or pretty.
Ah, I think that explains why I often find myself lost in my browser tabs – when I find something, I open it as a new tab, and I tend to get carried away with my search.
And yes, I do click on ads related to what I’m looking for 🙂
I guess I shop more like a man than spending too much time comparing prices. Occasionally I will buy during sales if the product on display is really attractive.
Interesting article about male and female shopping habits. I think it’s important to outline also how men and women prefer different messengers. You could sell the same product but if you know who the customer prefers to buy from (a man or a woman), sometimes this will make a difference. Listening to the customer is key.
Yes Cheryl, know what your customers want and trying to deliver on that is key.
I can really relate to this post. As a female, it seems that my emotional inclinations play a part when I shop. Likewise, when I create marketing campaigns for websites, it does help to know who we’re targeting. Cool to know that men are more likely to take a chance at paid search.. 🙂
I have long contended we small business owners should stop and think about how we act as consumers–and apply that to our businesses.
I don’t really like shopping online or off, so I guess I don’t fit into any category. I am therefore my own gender! – a type of humanoid. 🙂
Vouchers and coupons make me think, “well in order to get that £5.00 saving, I must first spend.”